Gencon 2018!

I headed down to Gencon on nearly a whim and it was pretty good. This means that I haven’t missed a Gencon since 1992.  That’s a LOT of Gencons.   This year I was trying to take a break after the insanity of the 50th anniversary last summer and all that, but broke down with both desire and some peer pressure from Matt.

Matt said it was his favorite Gencon ever as he got to game a lot and didn’t have to waste time on taking FAR too much time going out to eat, which is a massive timesink when you add it up.  Going to the RAM for lunch will take at least 2-3 hours minimum and then you are spun back into the Con drunk.

I only went on Saturday for reals and after wandering the hall a bit (trying not to buy anything this year), I got over to the CUBICLE 7 booth and had a chat with none other than Graeme Davis of WFRP fame who was showing off a binder with pages from 4th edition.  Mr. Davis, along with others, wrote the Enemy Within, Shadows over Boganhoffen, Rough Night at Three Feathers and many other great modules for one of the most important RPG’s ever.  WFRP 4 is going to be a merger of 1st and 2nd edition WFRP with nothing from Fantasy Flight’s 3rd edition (no funky dice or chits all over the place or cards for actions).  In addition, he has been tasked with writing the 4th edition Enemy Within in which, he said, would be surprises that help if players have played the 1st edition campaign as well as doing it closer to the original 1E edition.  Davis also co-wrote the 3rd edition version of the Enemy Within for Fantasy Flight.  Talking to Mr. Davis about this subject made the failed BIRD ride from downtown Milwaukee and drive down to Indy the night before totally worth it– the rest of the con was GRAVY.

After that WFRP fangasm, we got in another game of Rising Sun and I pulled out a win, which was the third in the row with different clans (the Fox, Butterfly and Turtle clans respectively).  I don’t usually win Blood Rage, though I love it, so I’m not sure how it’s happening with Rising Sun except via simple experience.  It’s becoming a favorite of the group.

I got in a game of Runequest (the new version from Chaosium) that was OK, the pre-gen character sheets were in the same format as the Free RPG day ones and they really sucked.  Please just list the fucking spells instead of saying “all common rune spells” so that the players, some who are totally new to RQ, have to go look them up in the book that they don’t have.  Another issue with RQ as a CON game is that it expects and demands vast knowledge of the Glorantha background, which, IMO is something to be slowly revealed over the course of a long campaign.  People aren’t going to know all the gods of the Glorantha pantheon– so don’t do CON scenarios that expect players to have that knowledge at all.   The scenario was a typical Glorantha one, with some Broo and some chaos getting all over the place and having to be cleaned up, but had a lot of stuff about the Lightbringers and Orlanthi stuff which all had to be explained in detail.  It was pretty good, but I just do not think Glorantha-based Runequest is much of a CON game.  System wise I miss the Mythras special effects in combat–they copied RQ6’s excellent Passions system: why didn’t they copy it’s superlative combat system as well?  The new RQ Glorantha book looks beautiful though, so should be picked up at some point.  They only had 200 at the CON for sale and I think they sold out pretty quick.

After RQ, I ran DCC for the gang in a very large hall of people and had to talk really loudly. I had to run down to the business center in the hotel in order to print off random characters for the game at the cost of 8$.  I need to remember to bring a huge stack of characters EVERYWHERE I go.   The session was pretty much proof that you can run DCC anywhere under very severe conditions.  I did Frozen in Time which is take on Expedition to the Barrier Peaks except all DCC.  We got fairly far into the module until people started to fall asleep on account of the hour and the drink.  That may be one to finish off.

Other than wandering the dealer hall a bit on Sunday and pestering Tom Babbey at his art booth, buying the obligatory DCC modules, that was pretty much my GENCON.

Some pictures.

I don’t know what these guys are supposed to be but Matt does.
Matt got this lady to do this for reasons I don’t know. He said it was some sort of explosion woman?
The guys playing the almost the best RPG.
The gaming halls were totally packed most of the time.
Rising Sun, pointing.

Gencon 2017 – that’s a wrap!

It’s Sunday night and I’m beat.  We were up until 3am playing a cracking game of A Study In Emerald wherein MOUTH failed to disclose via his actions in game which faction he was on due to rather erratic play.  I was in the lead after destroying a couple royals but the Loyalists could have pulled out a win if they crushed my partner in restoration who was down to a single agent on the board.   Mouth, shockingly, played a card to push the Loyalist War Track up to 10, ending the game, at which time he revealed himself to be a Loyalist. This after murdering another Loyalist player’s agents with the Vampire (Matt’s).  Madness.

ASIE is a fantastic game, every time I play I get better at it and it gets more fun!

I spent some cash at the con, needless to say. Notable stuff I picked up: Decision at Elst, a Squad Leader starter kit campaign, SECRETS by Eric Lang, Ethnos, 1914 Quartermaster General and I went ahead and spent the 30$ to get the board game geek exclusive Blood Rage miniature (Hili).

I got to see CMON’s Rising Sun played, and saw someone walking around with a copy (they won it in a charity auction) so I think Rising Sun may be closer to shipping than we have info on from Kickstarter.   I also got to see Massive Darkness played, which, while I kickstarted it, I’m not totally sold on the co-operative gameplay yet.  Nice minis though right?

One odd game we got to play was Mr. MeeSeeks (from Rick and Morty) which is pretty great if you can play with girls and are drunk.  It is not an all-guys game WHATSOEVER.  I saw, but did not get to play Anatomy Park, also from Rick and Morty.

RPG’s were fun but a bit scarce this year.  I played in an excellent game of Mythras based on the 80’s sci fi world Luther Arkwright.   I’m going to pick up that book and see if it will work well for a BPRD style game.  We played as Luther, Rose, another sex-addict character from the graphic novel, the Avengers (emma peel, johnathan steed) and Dr. Who (8th) in a sort of murder mystery, find the bomb game with dueling psychics and science!  It was great fun.

My Mythras game was set in 1648 during the battle of Roicroi and the characters were Walloon deserters from a defeated tercio who fled into the town only to find it very strange indeed.  Everything ended with a double hendersen and I feel I did a good job for only two hours of play.

The following day I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea, a DCC funnel adventure) for a big and rotating group of people who got exceedingly drunk during the affair.  It was a lot of fun for me to try to manage the chaos, but it became too loud with the yelling for anyone to hear, so we didn’t get the adventure done on account of gin and the like.   Someday I will finish running that all the way through: it is a pivotal module for DCC fans.

My favorite new game of the Con is probably Ethnos, but I really like Quartermaster General 1914 as well.  We played about half a game of that and it clicked for all the players (too late at night though!).  We’ll see which of those get more play.  Ethnos with 6 players is really difficult to manage as a euro.

My favorite non-gaming thing was the Museum.  I hope they do that every year.  We get a mini one every Gary Con, but this was gencon big and had a ton of really cool stuff.

One thing my brother said on the way home was that Gencon is an anomaly from normal life because everyone is NICE.  Packed in to a dealer hall, destroyed bathrooms and feeding areas you’d thing there would be dickheads and fights and yelling (remember, a LOT of people are drunk and high at gencon, like any other convention) but I never saw a single thing that wasn’t nice.  That is really saying something, especially sitting in the Trump era where people seem to be going out of their way sometimes to be total cunts.

Pics are forthcoming.  Now back to the grind.

 

GENCon 2017 day…. uhhhh

i guess it’s Saturday already.  My Mythras game went well despite fucking up and signing up for only two hours rather than four.  We tried to get through The DCC funnel sailors on the starless sea but near total drunkenness ensued and the characters were left on the ship ready for a TPK, which was awesome.  I’m going to make a big picture post when I get back home.

And probably more ricks

GENCON 2016- The Runequest games

I signed up for FOUR Runequest/Mythras games at Gencon this year and made it to three of them.  The first one we had a big group in and it was very good, probably the best RQ session I’ve had.

The scenario had the Roman 8th Legion which disappeared in England actually make it to the New world and set up a Roman style camp city in the Algonquin lands.  The players played either First people or some of the Romans (all pre-generated). A mysterious attack on an Algonquin chieftain brings the two groups together– for a time.  This was an excellent short adventure with mystery, exploration, traps and a brutal combat to cap it off.  There was good use of passions as well, something I need to work on in my own RQ games.  Dice-wise we were rolling criticals ALL day long– and my character, an Algonquin brave, was able to take down one of the mid-bosses with a single arrow shot!  All in all, since this one was with friends, a good GM and the historical-weird stuff that is totally in my wheel house, I was super pleased with this game.  I don’t want to go too deep into what happened as I assume the GM will publish this adventure somewhere.

privledge

The second game was also good, but I didn’t have any of my friends there so wasn’t too great, plus the were some very silly social justice warrior comments made due to the fact that playing a game with characters in 1100’s England is not the same as playing characters in a game set in the post 1995 world.  This game was set in an era of the very early middle ages with iron-fisted feudal lords, miserable peasantry, xenophobia on a level incomprehensible to modern man for fucksakes!   In this scenario, which had the same GM as the Algonquin-Roman game, we were to free King Stephen from the clutches of Geoffrey of Anjou after his capture at the battle of Lincoln.  While this was also a historical scenario, it was very tough to get into at first since I was fairly unfamiliar with this conflict (the Anarchy is the official name) and there were a lot of names to remember.  Also the problem, getting into a castle and into that castles dungeon, was quite difficult and could (remember this is Runequest!) have gone very badly for the characters at many points.  Luckily and due to some smart play by our priest, we were able to bluff our way into the castle as workmen (workwomen in my character’s case) with a lot of help from the faculty staff and free the king in the end.  The highpoint was giving some knights a laxative and then slaughtering them in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay fashion as they charged out of the loo in their long shirts. Rule to remember RQ/Mythras fans: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.

I was able to note a couple tweaks from RQ6 to Mythras that I definitely think make it a better game on top of already the best game. You can do a few new things with Luck Points than you could before, such as reversing the numbers on your rolled die or giving your character an extra action point (!).

The last game I made it to was CLASSIC FANTASY, which is a Mythras/RQ take on old school fantasy gaming.  We had pre-gen characters again of your standard classes from Basic D&D.  I played the wizard and other than roleplaying or providing tactical ideas, I pretty much only fired off my Magic Missile in combat.  The scenario was interesting, but the GM did not drop us into the slaughter straight away (a staple of Old school games) but had a lengthy campaign-starting intro description that he actually repeated TWICE for us as there was a player that showed up late.

mythras

In old school fashion, the game was a dungeon crawl with some interesting traps and tricks scattered about and, of course, constant combat.  We probably got into six fights during the session (I could only stay for 3 hours of it though), so many that we were a bit fight-numb.  However, this was the first time I had play RQ with miniatures on a grid, like Pathfinder.  It seemed to work well, with very little confusion about where everyone is.  However, this turns a dynamic, imagination game into a tactical miniatures game where the focus is solely on the board and pieces in front of the players.  If I was going to run a Classic Fantasy game, I would eschew the use of minis and especially a grid unless truly necessary.  I use a map with miniatures in 13th Age all the time for fights, but it’s a gridless game with very loose (yet mechanically integrated) distances.  Counting off spaces when you are playing Space Hulk or Advanced Heroquest (and you could lump 4E D&D into this board game group) is fine, but in and RPG? It’s just not necessary and is pretty annoying.

The Magic system in Classic Fantasy is just what you would expect– RQ mechanics on top of the standard Sleep, Magic missile, Cloud Kill, etc.  I really had only magic missile, as noted earlier, and fired it off quite a bit, but mostly missed my casting rolls.  Due to the class and level system being applied to RQ in Classic Fantasy, characters start a bit weaker than your standard RQ characters.  A fighter in RQ is going to to have a 60%+ in his main combat skill, sometimes even into the high 70’s.   Magic users in standard RQ will have a high casting value for Sorcery or Theism– they will fail from time to time, but it will be rare– usually their skill will come in to play when in opposition to something else.  Classic Fantasy characters, at least the pregens we had, had 40’s and 50’s for their skills, so there was a lot of whiffing.  While in close combat a whiff can mean death as the opponent can parry and get a special effect, casting spells or shooting arrow whiffing isn’t too fun when it’s close to 50%.   When both sides have sub 50% skill at fighting, it can make for a long fight if special effects aren’t used.

Since there were so many combats, some vs monsters and odd things, there was some hand waving around the special effects.   As a GM and player of RQ: don’t do this.  Special effects are an integral part of the game, and it’s one of those things that makes RQ/Mythras D100 far better than Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.  Special effects make combat go quickly and make your rolls, especially in close combat with actual weapons matter every time you touch the dice.

Lesson from this last game for GMs: when you sit down to run a CON RPG game– time is fleeting so GREASE UP AND GET FUCKING. This isn’t your home campaign!  Any dithering will be seen of as terrible.  Throw the characters immediately into a situation and get them making choices, don’t wait, don’t explain much, just start PLAY.  In my Lamentations game, after character creation, the players were at the base of the Tower of the Stargazer within minutes and the first roll for death was just a few minutes after that.  Go go go.  Players aren’t there to SHOP or listen to back story!

Mythras
Mythras

So yeah, Mythras, the direct heir to Runequest 6 is going to be good– and between drafts of this post, Mythras is now available in PDF format on Drive Thru.  No announcement of the actual physical book yet, but Mythic Rome is next on the slab for release.

Genconnery 2016

we are at the last real day of the con, Sunday being mop up and all that.  It’s crowded as fuck, with long lines and smells and bumping into huge backpacks.  We are staying at the Alexander which is a hike from the con, but real shi shi and has tons of room for gaming.  I made the mistake of getting new shoes before the con and my feet are fucked with blisters– so bad I have to wear flip flops for likely a week!

image

We got in a great Runequest game with a Roman legion in pre colonization North America.  I got to play the Others for a bit (should be at my house today!) and picked up Bloodborne the card game which plays ok.  Otherwise I haven’t bought much stuff, instead we’ve been eating like kings of the earth.

I ran my Lamentations of the flame princess event yesterday and it was good.  I had only one player who was pretty much half asleep the whole time who did manage to wake up and free Calcidus the bad wizard from his salt circle.  He then left the game shortly after as the other players then had to clean up that mess which nearly ended in a TPK.

We played LotFP later that day with steve, but that deserves its own write up.

Gencon Tomorrow! Blood Rage tonight!

Tomorrow begins the madness that is Gencon, the crush of the crowds, the heated toilet seats, the Fantasy Flight and CMON booth lines, the selling of THE OTHERS to people that didn’t kickstart it while those of us that did have to fucking WAIT FOR IT in the mails, the signs that tell people politely to PLEASE SHOWER DURING THE CON and finally, those that such signs were written for walking around in a thick crowd stinking up the entire vendor area.  Some of the people you can smell a certain smell from the front (jungle rot?), and a different smell from the back (rectal sauces?).

I’m not in a lot of games this year, it being impossible to get into an event with friends due to the player to game ratio these days, but I am running one session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, so we’ll see how that shit goes with fucking strangers.  I’m hoping for some non-insane people. That’s all I ask.  The game I got in to play was Mythras (runequest) Classic Fantasy which is the RQ take on the Old School D&D genre. Really looking forward to that.

Otherwise I have to say, after going to Gencon for at least 22 years straight now, I’m thinking I may take a break after this year and rely on some local cons for the gaming.

Stuff I really like to do though:

  • Go through Warhammer bits boxes that these guys bring. Epic, Blood Bowl, WFB– so much good stuff…
  • Talk to the Dungeon Crawl Classics guys. People put a lot of onus on LotFP, but DCC is the other “leg” of the OSR, one that puts out great shit consistently.
  • Get drunk at the ram
  • Taking pictures of strange looking people– and they keep getting stranger and stranger both in costumes and people you think are in costumes, but aren’t. Granted when I started going as a wee lad it was all bearded fat guys hunched over hexboards.

Tonight though BLOOD RAGE!

bloodragestuffs

Gencon events, what a chore!

Why do I still go to Gencon?  I’m thinking the smaller cons (especially around here) are going to fit the bill better than the 60K attendance monstrosity.  Having everyone ready for 11 AM today was a bitch, people got together as if it was some sort of business meeting.  Fucksake, this is what you have to go through to get events? Madness.   Despite the craziness, the online system is pretty amazing.  While confusing at times, it parses a shocking amount of information in a fairly short amount of time.   Coordination is the fucking thing.  If we weren’t trying to get into games together, it would be a lot easier, but half the fun is playing with part strangers, part amigos.

I got all my Runequest requests, but nothing else.  I ain’t complaining.  The only game I really wanted other than that was Feng Shui 2 and, though there were no games, Shinobigami Modern Ninja Battle Game.

And I’m running a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game.  First event I’ve ever run there after all these decades of going.   I was thinking either that, Into the Odd or Feng Shui 2 and LotFP won out.  I’m going to run an entrant (randomly from a set of 10 good ones) from the one page dungeon contest.

Gencon 2015 day 2

we got in a Runequest game with Lawrence Whitaker and I was the only character that died (of a horrible disease).  Then we got loaded at the ram again and got turned loose in the great hall.

While there we saw Tom Babbey who is a buddy that did some awesome art for D&D 5e.  I think he won some awards last night which are well deserved.

Between that and the AEG game night, we rolled up and started playing a Lamentations adventure with STeve GMing.  He said a phrase of boxed text and I thought for a moment I had read it before but it turned out it wasn’t the case (fuck for satan?)

The AEG game night was solid, we played a short game of Junta and a newer game called Game of Crowns which wasn’t my favorite.  Junta is pretty fun but it’s old school design means you can get stuck with fuck all to do for 15 or so minutes at a time which is not great.  the back stabbing though, is spectacular.

pictures: coming– I’m posting from my phone.

I like the ken Whitman drama story unfolding here as well.  http://dontfundkenwhitman.blogspot.com/2015/07/ken-whitman-faces-lie-detector-in-his.html

 

Genconing 2012

I was a bit on the mend so decided to drive down to Gencon Friday and see what for. I got to indy about 4PM and had only a couple hours to wander around before the main hall (the MONEY SUCKING HALL) closed. Before I even got in there BAM right in front of me was the BOLT ACTION demo area with an amazing Riechstag set up and a bunch of other boards. Sat around talking about it for awhile but the demos were full– then ran into the MONEY SUCKING hall before it closed up and bought a couple things, but didn’t take the bite on the Bolt Action deals (yet). Wandering around after the hall closed sucked as I couldn’t find anyone I knew so I wandered into a showing of Trailer Park JESUS. Not sure about it but it killed time and featured a girl with breasts that started at the lowest level of the chest that I’ve ever seen.

Got up Saturday morning and played Shadowfist, and Shadowfist, and Shadowfist.. and a demo of Bolt Action and that was it.  I took third in the yearly invitational using one of Mouth’s decks but didn’t make the final in the world championship.  All good though as I got at least 9 games in.

Bolt Action plays like a combination of AT-43 and Epic 40K and I dig it and dumped 100$ in to get some figs and the rulebook.   While I didn’t spend a lot of time shopping,  I did get some finds in the hall– not as many as I’d like to have picked up, but solid stuff.  No more Crazy Egor but plenty of other places that have gaming trash for cheap.

Stuff I saw of interest:

  • Fantasy Flight was rocking– big game was Netrunner which I will eventually pick up, but no rush.  They demo’ed the prototype of RELIC– the 40K Talisman game and it looked OK.
  • Confrontation Phoenix edition was on display and I listened in for a bit but didn’t get a demo.  While the miniatures are great, they have some work to do consolidating the rules from 3.0 to 3.5.  Great highly detailed miniatures game that I would love to see ‘alive’ again in the 3.5 form as opposed to the simplified mass produced version.
  • Forgeworld at the Con.  I mistakenly thought it was Games Workshop returning after many many years, but it was Forgeworld–who has never been to Gencon before.  They were showing off their awesome stuff and with 40K 6th edition out, that was the focus. They did have the Chaos Dwarf army in full effect for 8th edition.
  • Not much for D&D.  There was an area, but it was pretty toned down.  Cool Drow strider sculpture but other than that– nothing on the impending 5th edition that I saw at all.
  • In contrast, Pathfinder everywhere.  That brand is hugely on the rise, not just for PNP roleplaying, but spreading out to everything else.
  • The new Fate core version was around but I didn’t get into any demo’s of it.
  • The new Marvel RPG was huge, but they had these little demo tables and the entire table was covered with dice dice dice. I was pretty silly.  You play the game with no screen for the DM so it can work, but it was funny to see.   While the rulebook is pretty economical, the first campaign book is pricey and huge.  While I’ve gushed about the initiative system, I’m not sure the dice mechanic is all that great overall.
  • No White Wolf.  Sadly I didn’t even find the White Wolf booth and didn’t even know if there was one.  So no perusing the Exalted books or asking questions about it.  I don’t think there’s much to tell there since version 2.5.
Relic prototype

Shadowfist of interest:

  • Dragons + Lotus is still the best combo of factions FTW
  • Great Walls were everywhere, so even less reason to play straight Ascended.  If you hit a front site in a tournament, it’s going to be the Great Wall.
  • Monarchs were everywhere  (as usual with all the love they’ve been getting in sets)
  • There were no Ascended decks in the tournaments at all
  • Syndicate still did nothing (but at least people played the faction)
  • I played against a very good Jammers deck a couple times.  It had some glaring weak spots, but wasn’t the usual shite you usually get from Jammers.
Some inconsistent basing in effect